FINNEGAN'S SQUAD: "The Fifth Estate" - teaser/opening act

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       FINNEGAN'S SQUAD: "The Fifth Estate"

               BEGIN OPENING ACT:


               At one time the village of Kodari was a center of religion
               but that time has passed.  The effects of the Eco-Crisis a
               century earlier linger here and this quaint mountain village
               sitting as it does on a shifting border between Nepal and the
               Tibet region of the People's Republic of China (West China)
               seems to be in eternal winter.


               At the edge of town sits an ancient square stone building, it
               is "RAI'S", the largest of the local eating establishments in
               this, the last stop before Katmandu.

               INT. RESTAURANT

               The interior of "RAI'S" is dimly lit but otherwise warm.  The
               rough hewn bare wooden tables crowd the middle open space
               flanked on one side by an incongruously modern looking bar
               and on the other by the lone door and window.

               Behind the bar is BIKRAM, the elderly Nepalese owner of
               "RAI'S".  He is assisted by AISHA, his daughter.  At the
               window, dressed locally but definitely not from around here
               is DAWN LEGATO (female 30's).

               Dawn is peering out the window impatiently while suppressing
               a chill at the cold snowy night.

                                   DAWN LEGATO
                         July... huh.

               She turns and calls over to Bikram.

                                   DAWN LEGATO (cont'd)
                         Are you sure they're coming?

                         Yes Miss.  They come every night. 
                         For three weeks now.

                                   DAWN LEGATO
                         Any idea when?

                         Soon.  Dinner hour.

               Dawn moves away from the window starting toward the bar.  She
               pulls her wrap tighter around her suppressing another chill.

                                   DAWN LEGATO
                         Does it ever warm up around here?

                         Once Miss.  Long before.

                                   DAWN LEGATO
                         Before what?

                         Before I was born.

                                   DAWN LEGATO

                         Blame your ancestors Miss.  Waste
                         not they said, waste lots they did.

               Dawn looks around mulling this truism over.

                                   DAWN LEGATO

               She turns looking across the bar and out the window again.

               EXT. RESTAURANT - EVENING

               A slow rumbling announces the arrival of a 5-ton sized Troop

               The baffle plates along either side of it vibrate as the Grav
               Plates push against the ground trying to keep the ungainly
               vehicle from landing.  These are old plates which is why a
               heat shimmer is visible off what otherwise look like a series
               of metal drums strung along each side.

               The Troop Carrier lurches to a stop in front of the
               Restaurant.  It's back hatch opens and a Senior Lieutenant of
               the PRC Army steps out glancing to either side before waving
               the rest of the occupants out of the vehicle.

               One at a time a string of Soldiers rush out of the back of
               the vehicle and move as directed toward the front door of

               INT. RESTAURANT

               Dawn quickly turns, musses up her hair and pushes the shiny
               metal canister she left perched on the bar counter to a more
               prominent place.  

               She twists the top of the container which causes the first
               two inches to separate from the bottom and sit with a two
               centimeter wide gap between them.

               She then turns and starts across the restaurant toward the
               door, as it opens.

               The first through the door is a PRC MAJOR.  We might
               recognize him from the first episode when he was still a
               Senior Captain in the PRC Army.  

               He steps into the restaurant looking around as the Soldiers
               he's escorting enter, move deep into the place and find their
               seats as though this was a much practiced drill.  Which it

               The PRC Major sees Dawn and his head tilts.  Curiously he
               steps forward approaching her.

                                   PRC MAJOR
                         And who are you, Miss?

               From behind the counter Bikram is already approaching.

                         That is my niece, Major.  Tara
                         Ranas.  She's from Katmandu.

               The PRC Major eyes Bikram warily.

                                   PRC MAJOR
                         She does not look right.

                         She isn't ...
                             (head down)
                         My brother liked Westerners.

               PRC Major looks back at Dawn suspiciously.  He looks over at
               a thin female PRC Lieutenant (GEN JUNE) who is his second.

                                   PRC MAJOR

               Gen June steps forward aggressively taking Dawn's wrist
               firmly and twisting it sharply.  By the twinkle in Gen June's
               eyes you can see that she enjoys this.  

               Dawn looks at her with fear and hesitation as Gen June holds
               a scanner up to Dawn's wrist and activates it.  

               An ultra-violet light bathes this spot for a second and when
               a tone announces it's finished Gen June reads the display. 

                                   GEN JUNE
                         Identity confirmed.

               The PRC Major stands there eyeing Dawn still not convinced. 
               He is about to step forward for a closer interrogation when
               Bikram cuts him off.

                         We have a fresh shipment of Beef
                         Major.  The finest cuts... from

               The PRC Major is undeterred.  He steps closer to Dawn eyeing
               her intently even as he responds.

                                   PRC MAJOR
                         I've never been fond of that cut...

               He peers deep into Dawn's eyes while only inches away.

                                   PRC MAJOR (cont'd)
                         Too lean.
                             (quietly to Dawn)
                         I like a little fat on my prey.

               He eyes Dawn more intently still.  Bikram steps forward
               daring to reach out and put his hand on the PRC Major's arm.

                         Major please.  That is my niece.

               The PRC Major doesn't move.  He's still perilously close to

                                   PRC MAJOR
                             (whispering to her)
                         You aren't anywhere nearly as
                         frightened as you should be.

                                   DAWN LEGATO
                         Perhaps I'm not as weak as you're
                         used to.

               The PRC Major snaps back, a flat stern expression replacing
               the leering one a moment earlier.

                                   PRC MAJOR

               As the PRC Major and Gen June move to what must be their
               customary table Dawn looks around.  

               There are two groups of Soldiers present.  A select few are
               obviously PRC Army soldiers, they're in uniforms with patches
               and ranks to identify them but the vast majority of those
               present are not. 

               None of their uniforms have patches or markings that would
               identify them as West Chinese.  Nor do they have ranks, the
               stripes or pips that would identify their place in this

               And they barely look Asian, in fact, the faces of each one of
               these Soldiers is decidedly feline, almost as if some recent
               ancestor had mated with a lion or something.

               The six PRC Soldiers, a mix of Officers and senior Enlisted
               sit together.  The PRC Major calmly sips at a freshly poured
               cup of hot steaming green tea.

               ALL pause as the unit on Gen Junes' belt chirps.  She looks
               at the PRC Major.

                                   PRC MAJOR (cont'd)
                         Curiosity killed the cat, Comrade

               It's a private joke between them about how she cannot ignore
               an incoming call.  She reaches for the unit pulling it off
               it's clip and bringing it up.

               Her face is impassive as she reads the display.

                                   GEN JUNE
                         Perhaps, but satisfaction brought
                         it back, Comrade Major.

               She turns the unit for the PRC Major to see.  As the PRC
               Major reads the display he smiles before turning back,
               looking over his shoulder towards the bar.  Towards Dawn.

                                   PRC MAJOR

               Dawn moves between the tables scoping each one of them.

               Their skin is dark, almost burnt orange in color.  And
               they're definitely not Asian.  Dawn studies them carefully
               yet discretely as moves through them.

               She clears past the last of them returning to the bar just as
               Aisha comes from the Kitchen with the first cart of food

               Dawn stands behind the counter, directly behind the
               cylindrical device she activated a few moments earlier. 

               As we move down and closer on the unit in front of her we see
               the gap between the extended bit and the main part.  Inside
               are a series of scanners.

                                                          SMASH CUT TO:

               INT. STATION 5 - REZNAY HOLO-BAY

               The exact same moment from the Restaurant is frozen here in
               three pixelating and grainy dimensions.

               TOPPER, an early 30's Intel Analyst, is moving slowly around
               the scene walking almost entirely back along the path that
               Dawn took.

               He moves with no regard of where the tables are because in
               reality they're not here, nor are the tables solid.  This is
               a true Holographic environment.

               Topper kneels down, peering deeply into the face of one of
               the many nondescript Soldiers waiting for their meal.  Nearly
               without exception they are expressionless, intent, dullened,
               perhaps by fatigue, or perhaps something worse.

               A hydraulic door opens and another analyst, CASEY, enters,
               walking through the Hologram without regard for it.

                         You're late.

                         Yeah.  Sorry about that.

               Topper rises and moves to another table then repeats the same

                         Who was she, this time?

               Casey stops, ready to deny the accusation, except he can't. 
               A slightly foppish, lopsided grin crosses his face before
               bursting into a full, proud-of-himself smile.

                         How did you know?

                         Every time you're late it's for the
                         same reason.

               Topper rises looking at him.

                                   TOPPER (cont'd)

                         OK, you're going to love this one. 
                         I was in Retro's last night and met
                         this stunningly beautiful F-T-L

                         A what?

                         You know, faster than light.  She's
                         on Shindar's team.

                         She told you that?

                         No.  I glommed it from her
                         comments.  Wouldn't have meant
                         anything to me if we weren't
                         already monitoring their

               Casey looks around.

                                   CASEY (cont'd)
                         So, what's this?

                         Dawn's last transmission.

               Casey mirrors Topper, walking around, studying the scene.

                         How long has it been since we last
                         heard from her?

                         Six hours.

                         That's unusual for her, isn't it?

                         If she's got reason.  But she's
                         never ended a transmission so...

               Both stand there looking at the frozen scene.  With each
               passing moment Topper's face looks more and more concerned.

               END OPENING ACT:
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